Barristers are generally instructed by solicitors.
Some barristers will take on work directly from a client on a basis known as direct access, however they have no obligation to do so and the cab rank rule does not apply to this arrangement. Please refer to the Tasmanian Bar Council’s Direct Access Guidelines.
It can be useful to get a barrister involved in a matter from early on in proceedings. Barristers are litigation specialists and have a thorough understanding of procedure. They may also be able to suggest alternatives to traditional litigation that can provide swift and more cost effective resolution than going to trial.
You can search for a barrister here.
All barristers operate independently, from one another and from any law firms or businesses. Whilst many barristers may work from the same Chambers, this does not mean that they work together or in similar areas of law. It flows from this that all barristers charge differently, depending on their level of experience and the area of law that they work in.
Just because a barrister is a specialist does not mean that they charge more than a solicitor or a barrister and solicitor working at a firm, in fact sometimes their rates can be lower. For example a junior barrister may often charge less per hour than a junior solicitor working at a firm. Engaging a barrister for an opinion on a certain area of law or for tactical advice in an ongoing matter for or court appearances can be a very cost effective way of conducting a litigation practice. It can free up solicitors to carry on day-to-day work uninterrupted.
Preparing a brief
All barristers work differently, some prefer to receive documents or briefs in hardcopy, others prefer documents electronically or e-briefs.
It is very helpful to provide a cover letter or instructions to counsel with any brief, to give a brief overview of the matter and instruct exactly what you want the barrister to do in that matter. While each matter will be different, barristers will usually need copies of all documents relevant to the case so that they can get the full picture of the matter. For example, pleadings, indictments, complaints, witness statements, lists of documents. Speak to your barrister to find out what they need on a case by case basis or if you have any questions about what to include.